Rick Riordan, the author of Percy Jackson, is offering his opinion on the casting in the upcoming show. We’re learning that Rick has offered his full support for the casting of a Black actress in the role of Annabeth Chase. The character is originally depicted as a white, blonde girl in his beloved book series.
Riordan recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the casting and certainly had a lot to say! Riordan states that casting Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase aligns perfectly with the core motivation behind his creation of the books. Riordan’s son, who had dyslexia and ADHD, struggled in school but loved Greek mythology. As a teacher, Riordan shared Greek myths with him and later invented Percy Jackson, a modern kid with similar conditions who learns he might be a demigod, something his son could relate to.
He emphasized the importance of approaching the story with a fresh perspective to ensure it resonated with a wide range of children. Riordan wanted the narrative to be inclusive so that it could inspire everyone to be a hero, which was his original motivation for writing the book. This concept evolved into a successful seven-book series and New York Times bestseller. The book series is still reaching millions of readers worldwide. Additionally, the franchise extended with the release of two Percy Jackson movies in 2010 and 2013.
Author Riordan Defends Casting Choices for “Percy Jackson” Series
This casting decision, which introduces Leah Jeffries in the role, faced criticism from racist fans who were unhappy with the change. Despite the backlash from some racist fans, Riordan remained steadfast in his support of Jeffries. He clarified that Jeffries’ casting remains in harmony with the essence of his franchise. Riordan went on to emphasize that the sole reason he wrote “Percy Jackson” was to address his child’s educational struggles in school.
Riordan also hinted that he played a role in approving the casting decisions and urged fans of “Percy Jackson” to trust his judgment. As the creator of the series, he may be the most authoritative figure when it comes to selecting the actor best suited for the role. In a blog post penned by the author in 2022, he expressed his feelings, stating that the selected actors would authentically embody the characters in a manner that aligns precisely with the individual imaginations of fans. He further elaborated on the thoroughness of the casting process, emphasizing the meticulous effort taken over a year to identify and choose the most outstanding talents. Ultimately, he affirmed that the chosen trio, including Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase, represented the pinnacle of casting excellence for their respective roles.
He expressed frustration with fans who doubted his casting choices. Riordan stated that the actors chosen were ideal due to their talent and their ability to bring life to the characters during auditions. Riordan emphasized that once fans see Leah in the role of Annabeth, she will embody the character in the way they envision.
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” will make its debut on December 20th on Disney+.